Steve Waldeck's "Flight Paths."

Stuck at the airport? Take in these 5 awesome art pieces at Hartsfield-Jackson

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the reason we call Atlanta "ATL," but it's likely not the place that comes to mind as one of the city's beacons of art.

It's from "Hartsfield," as we call it, that more jobs than you might think come from: Hartsfield is the state's largest employer, with more than 63,000 employees working to keep "ATL" as the economic jewel of Georgia (generating $34.8 billion annually) and as one of the busiest airport in the world.

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In recent years, Hartsfield officials have found another way to stand out among the world's airport: it's dynamic art installations.

Airport authorities use the installations as a way to sell Atlanta to the world −enhancing the environment at ATL and offering the occasional distraction from the tedium of travel. The airport isn't a gallery or sales agent for artists, but sometimes passengers do end up buying art they just can't resist.

The next time you're passing through ATL (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport), take a walk through your terminal instead of taking the train. 

Here's what you'll find:

Steve Waldeck's "Flight Paths."
Photo: via Instagram at atlairport

Steve Waldeck

Flight Paths installation

Perhaps the most impressive installation at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is Steve Waldeck's "Flight Paths." The 450-foot long underground experience was envisioned by Waldeck in 2003, and brought to life in 2016, in the transportation mall between concourses A and B. It includes, among other things, a simulated rain shower complete with lightning and thunder, as immersive colors, sounds and moods are cast against shapes hung from the ceiling.

RELATED: $4 million airport art installation coming to life

"Veneers" by Amy Landesberg is an artwork display created by enlarging images of wood grain.
Photo: Brant Sanderlin /

Amy Landesberg


Amy Landesberg's glasswork "Veneers" can be found in the transportation mall between concourses E and F (international). The functional installation − the glass seperates public space from those still awaiting passage through customs − is 605 feet of abstract shapes in bright colors inspired by wood grain. The grain patterns from 29 extinct species of tree provided the shapes.

One of the photos from "Day Trip" by Tropico Photo
Photo: via Instagram at atlairport

Tropico Photo

Day Trip prints

Tropico Photo is the collaborative works of Michelle Norris and Forrest Aguar. The duo met while studying photography at the University of Georgia and have since transplanted to Atlanta, where "Day Trip" is now on display at the airport through September in the Domestic atrium. Their use of captivating compositions and compelling color combinations influence viewers in a way that makes you feel ambiguous in time of art and travel.

A Walk Through Atlanta History by Gary Moss
Photo: Courtesy of A Walk Through Atlanta History Facebook page

Gary Moss

A Walk Through Atlanta History exhibit

Located in the transportation mall between concourses B and C, "A Walk Through Atlanta History" is a multimedia tribute to the city's rich history by artist and exhibit creator Gary Moss. The exhibit explores eight moments or periods in the city's history: the pre-Colonial era to 1840, the first train stop in Atlanta, the Civil War and the Battle of Atlanta, reconstruction and the rebuilding of the post-war city, the rise of the Sweet Auburn district, mayor William B. Hartsfield's achievements, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, and Atlanta's entry onto the global stage.

"Saints", by Radcliffe Bailey in Terminal E
Photo: via Instagram at atlairport

Radcliffe Bailey

Saints mural

On the curved wall above the escalator bank in Terminal E, a site-specific mixed-media painting is hung. The piece, "Saints", by Radcliffe Bailey was commissioned and installed in 1996. The painting explores the theme of migration by incorporating images from old photos, stencil, symbols of power, paint, and text that expresses aspects of African-American culture.

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